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Is the “gold standard” too much for such young children?

In today’s anti-autistic behavior climate, early intensive intervention is considered the gold standard for autism care.

Often, the very first conversation a parent has with a physician when their child is diagnosed with autism is the conversation about enrolling their child into as many early intervention programs as possible, and specifically, enrolling their children into ABA.

“BA therapists recommend that small children between 2 and 5 go through 40 hours a week of [ABA] learning.”

C.L. Lynch

ABA is intended to start very young and continue until adulthood as children spend numerous hours per week on active learning- a feat that most children are not expected to do, as this is nearly double the amount of active learning time in public schools- which not only places a lot of stress on the child but also may inhibit their ability to socialize and have a life outside of their ABA sessions.

Most school-aged children attend school for 35 hours per week, and of those 35 hours, anywhere from 5-15 are spent on lunch and recess, leaving about 20-25 hours of school day where the children are actually at their desks. Even during those 20+ hours, some of that time is used for downtime or quiet reading. Most children only actively learn for 15 hours a week, and very few are actively learning for 40 hours per week.

ABA asks parents to enroll their children in 40 hours of active learning per week, during which the children typically sit in a small room with the behavior analyst who explains the tasks and teaches them while modifying their behavior. There is virtually no down time, and no breaks. Children are not allowed to refuse to participate.

Spending this much time actively learning is stressful for school-aged children, and many children start ABA before the age of 3- there are 2-year-olds enrolled in 40 hours per week of learning and behavior modification.

Any good parent or professional would question anything that puts so much stress on- and requires so much work from- such young children.


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